The Indiana General Assembly is revisiting the debate over Right to Work legislation — the same debate that in part led to the Democrats’ five-week walkout in the last legislative session.
Right to Work legislation prevents unions from charging dues to non-members who work in union shops. Indiana Economic Development Corporation CEO Mitch Roob says not being a Right to Work state hurts Indiana’s ability to attract business.
“It will make us more competitive,” he said. “We will get more looks than we’re getting today, and as any salesman knows, the more looks you get, the more sales you make.”
Roob said some companies won’t even look at non-Right to Work states, though when pressed he said no company or site selection firm has ever specifically told him that.
Former Indiana Department of Commerce Executive Director Tom McKenna says there are more important factors in economic development, calling Right to Work an attack on unions.
“Hoosiers will do anything to get new jobs and new economic opportunity in their community,” he said. “Why do you want to thumb your nose at the unions? That doesn’t make sense.”
Study Committee Chair Phil Boots said the committee will likely invite public testimony at a later meeting; only invited speakers testified Tuesday.
Governor Mitch Daniels says he hasn’t decided whether he will push for Right to Work legislation in the next legislative session. Daniels says last session wasn’t the right time for the issue.
“I wasn’t in favor of its consideration in this last session,” he said, “as you all know because we hadn’t had this kind of an open process and an airing of all the issues.”
The legislative committee will continue to study the issue throughout the summer.